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People and Culture

Peru - People and Culture


Although Peru has rich natural resources and many great places to visit, many of the people live in poor conditions. 43% of the population live under the poverty line. The rich, consisting mostly of a Hispanic elite, live in the cities. Nevertheless, most Peruvians are great nationalists and love their country with pride (largely stemming from Peru's history as the center of both the Inca Empire and Spain's South American Empire). Also, many Peruvians separate the state of Peru and its government in their minds. Some of them distrust their government and police, and people are used to corruption and embezzlement scandals.

The Peruvian economy is healthy and quite strong, however still some Peruvians see their economy as stuck in a rut. It is indebted and dependent on industrial nations, especially the United States. This dependence, combined with US foreign policy decisions in recent years has contributed to a widely held negative view about the United States government in Peru, but not against individual US citizens.

The word gringo, which in Mexico means a person from the United States, is used commonly, but is not generally intended as offensive. The original meaning encompassed all white-skinned people who do not speak Spanish. Due to Mexican and American influence many people use the word gringo exclusively for Americans or American look-alikes. It's not uncommon for blonde people to be called gringo. Peruvians do not hesitate to greet you with "¡Hola, gringo!".

Peruvians are known for being creative and also hard-working people. Most Peruvians are very busy working to earn their keep and some others to survive. That does not leave much time for travel. Many have not seen more than the surrounding villages or cities. Very few ever leave the country, although many have relatives living abroad. This may explain why Peruvians tend to be quite curious about other countries and lifestyles.

Generally, people are very friendly, peaceful and helpful. When in trouble, you mostly can rely on getting help. But as with any setting, it is always good to watch out for yourself and try to avoid bad situations. If you get into an argument, it is a good idea to remain amicable, but firm. Most of the time, you can find a compromise that satisfies everyone.

Peru is not exactly a haven for efficiency. Do not expect things to be on time, or exactly as they intend to be. Outside of the more upscale tourist services and big cities like Lima, English is uncommon and the people, trying to be friendly, can give wrong or inexact advice, a translator can always be helpful in this cases. Plan ahead and leave plenty of time for traveling. There are many interruptions of service due to protests. Even air service is disrupted due to weather or unexpected circumstances, so arm yourself with patience.


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Expat Health Insurance Partners


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